NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2004 Saturn Vue (Page 2 of 2)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
76,839 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Saturn Vue transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Saturn Vue Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

Aug 282009


  • 54,650 miles


My 2004 Saturn Vue that has 54600 miles on it and the automatic transmission is slipping when I drive at a constant speed in a range form 35 - 55 miles per hr. I had in for a diagnosis at a Saturn dealership. They said it is the torque converter that is faulty and it will cost $2100 to replace it. This part has to be defected. I never had an automatic transmission problem in 40 years of driving cars.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #17

Apr 182006

Vue 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Vue. While driving 35 mph, the vehicle began making a loud noise. On three occasions, the dealer stated that the vehicle did not make enough noise for them to make an unspecified repair. The contact has been able to drive the vehicle despite the noise. The dealer refused to diagnose the computer to determine the cause of the failure. The noise sounded as if a component underneath the vehicle was making contact with the ground. The dealer stated that they could not find any failures during the test drive, but they heard the noise. The failure mileage was 35,000 and current mileage was 100,000. Updated 07/28/09 the consumer stated the noise was coming from inside the transmission. The front rotors were replaced. Updated 07/31/09.

- Watertown, CT, USA

problem #16

Oct 152007


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that the vehicle cannot be shifted into gear properly. When placed into drive, the shifter does not stay in place. The first time the transmission failed, it was repaired at the contact's expense. The transmission failed again, but has not yet been repaired. On May 22, 2009, the vehicle was taken to the dealer; however, it has not yet been diagnosed. The manufacturer is currently being sued by consumers due to the transmission failures. The consumers feel that they are not reliable. The contact is still waiting for a response from the dealer regarding the repair of her vehicle. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 95,000 and current mileage was 167,000.

- East Winser, NJ, USA

problem #15

Oct 082008


  • 68,178 miles


My transmission began slipping on my Saturn Vue at 76000. I took it into the dealership they said nothing was wrong. 6 days later I hit the gas it went to the floor and my car did not move, ut my RPM went up to 5000 +. Saturn replace my transmission at half the cost. Now 9000 miles later my transmission has begun to slip again. Saturn said nothing was wrong a second time (4/3/09).

- Elizabeth, NJ, USA

problem #14

Nov 092008


  • 49,900 miles
There is a terrible whole vehicle shudder a low speeds and low RPM. It seems like the transmission goes into "lock - up torque converter" mode at too low rpms(about 1000 to 1200).this happens constantly at low speeds and is very distressing and distracting. You have to step down harder on the accelerator to kick the transmission into a lower gear which tends to make the car speed up. This is very distressing and distracting and must cause undo wear and tear on the drivetrain. There are many Saturn Vue (2004) owners nation wide with this problem. This and the wheel bearing and brake problems should be nation wide recalls. No wonder people are buying imports at an incredible rate.

- Franklin, WI, USA

problem #13

Jul 142008

Vue 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
I also have the same problem with a 2004 Saturn Vue V-6 fwd. I have shudder problems in the transmission at low speed between 20-35mph. I have 75,000 miles and have had this problem for a while.

- Macomb, MI, USA

problem #12

Jun 172008


  • 102,750 miles


On November 7, 2005 I purchased a used 2004 Saturn Vue from a local Saturn dealer. On December 15, 2006 I took this vehicle to the local dealer in answer to a transmission recall notice I received in the mail. At this time, the following things were done to repair the defect: Gasket-C/, cover asm, core-\cove, sealer-TR, additive, plug-tran, fluid-A/T, converter, core-conv, fluid-A/T. these repairs constituted 1/2 of the transmission and were completed under warranty. 102,000 miles later, on 6/17/2008 I returned to the dealer because my vehicle was again showing signs of the same disorder. At this time we were informed that it would cost $6000 to replace a full transmission and that there was no warranty to cover this repair. We are quite upset that we are stuck with a design defective transmission with no recourse but to either pay for repairs which we have no money to pay, or keep the vehicle and pay $8000 in finance charges for a car that can't be used safely, or let the car go to the finance company in a repossession and wreck our credit for 7 years. We were offered a 50/50 deal from the dealership after we complained, however, we do not have $3000 either. We feel that this transmission defect should be repaired free of charge each and every time it breaks down or that we should be reimbursed $8000 to wipe out our debt on this defective vehicle and we'd be willing to call it square. Our on-line research shows that this transmission (vti) has been a problem for everyone who purchased this model car. Some have had to have their transmissions fixed over and over and over. We also learned that they do not make these transmissions anymore. We are very upset!!!

- Batesburg, SC, USA

problem #11

Mar 282008

Vue 6-cyl

  • 124,072 miles
Problem 1: my 2004 Saturn AWD V6 Saturn Vue has developed a "shudder" in the drive train that's prevalent in the 20 -25 and 30-35mph range under moderate acceleration or coasting. Hooked up to a code reader, no codes appear; however, the torque converter is slipping as it displays a read out of over 8,000 RPM's when this occurs and the tachometer bounces back and forth with the shudder. Frequency of occurrence is higher in hotter weather and when car has been driven for several minutes. Slight whine also noticed by the transmission mechanic. Problem 2: this problem was noticed on 03-28-08. Vehicle was also purchased with defective horn. Two + weeks after the car was purchased I was hit in the rear quarter panel by a careless teenager that did not look before he backed out of his parking space. I realized shortly after that my horn was not properly working. There was no way I could have sounded the horn to alert him that he was about to back into me if had wanted to. Had it repaired recently in which the horn was found to be completely non-operational. Once repaired, it was apparent that all was working well with the horn as it honks when the doors are locked. We did not realize that the car would do that at the time that we purchased it. That should have been a big clue to the dealership that it was not functioning properly. I've been told that selling a car without a properly functioning horn is a safety violation. I'm appalled that this was not caught by the dealership! more over, they stuck me with an expensive bill to replace something that should have been operational at the time of sale! problem 3: repaired on 05-22-08. Also, both lower control arm bushings had to be replaced as they were found to have separated. Major front end noises heard prior to this getting fixed and slop in the front end when driving. Felt like car might loose control when cornering!

- Goodrich, MI, USA

problem #10

Jan 102008

Vue 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
My 2004 Saturn fwd V6 Saturn Vue has developed a "shudder" in the drive train that's prevalent in the 20 -25 and 30-35mph range under moderate acceleration or coasting. It has never lost traction to the road. The vehicle 75 thousand miles when this started. The frequency of occurrence is difficult to predict but seems to be happening as often as those specific conditions (mph/coasting) present - does not happen when accelerating quickly. I have addressed the issue with my local mechanic who has been service the vehicle for 2 years - local Saturn dealership is too expensive and can never seem to correct problems satisfactorily. My concern with this the issue is could it possibly cause loss of traction and possibly lead to an accident or complete transmission failure. As this seems to be occurring in this model, can the NHTSA investigate?

- Elgin, IL, USA

problem #9

May 212008

Vue 6-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
Our 2004 Saturn fwd V6 Saturn Vue has developed a "shudder" in the drive train that's prevalent in the 30-35mph range under moderate acceleration. It is akin to a transmission slippage although we've never lost traction to the road. The vehicle presently has between 50 and 55 thousand miles. The frequency of occurrence is difficult to predict but seems to be happening more often as we put on more miles. We have addressed the issue to our local Saturn dealership and they have looked into the problem however have found nothing in the onboard diagnostics that would reveal any failures. They kept the car overnight and drove it numerous times but could not reproduce the problem. They have been as helpful as possible but to no avail. Our concern is the issue, which certainly seems transmission related, may present itself at a bad time and could possibly cause loss of traction at a crucial time and leave us (my wife mainly drives the vehicle) in a vulnerable position. However, until the dealership witnesses the problem they have no obligation to do anything. Can the NHTSA bring this to the attention of GM and Saturn? again it is a 2004 Saturn Vue with the V6 fwd configuration.

- Manchester, MO, USA

problem #8

Sep 012007

Vue 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles


We have a 2004 Saturn Vue AWD and the transmission floats between overdrive and the lower gear constantly, when driving between 35 and 45 mph. There is a low grinding noise and a shudder in the car when it shifts to the lower gear, requiring your to downshift the car manually to avoid the problem at low speed. The car only has 53,000 miles on it and with all the complaints I've found online, I'm now afraid to let my wife take the vehicle on long trips. Surely GM has to know about this?. updated 01-14-08. The consumer stated the dealer has reluctantly offered to cover the cost of the parts only. Updated 12/12/07.

- Traverse City, MI, USA

problem #7

Oct 252006

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,220 miles
Failure of vti transmission. No previous problems - transmission had been serviced at regular intervals - 50,000 and 98,000 miles. Car had approximately 102,000 miles on it engine light came on indicating loss of power and code diagnosis indicated P1882 - recommend replace case cover assembly and filter - estimated repair cost $4,300 with no guarantee that it would not occur again. Had to trade car - bought a Honda.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #6

Oct 052006

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,652 miles
Total failure of a variable speed transmission while on an interstate. A 2004 Saturn Vue with 32,652 miles on it. Upon inspection by the dealer, the cause was attributed to a failure of the transmission 'belt' that destroyed the other internal components of the transmission. This should not have occurred in a vehicle so young. The transmission was replaced by the dealer under warranty.

- State College, PA, USA

problem #5

Mar 132006

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,028 miles
Continue to experience transmission problems with vehicle. Transmission has been service on five different occasion for the same defect.

- Monroe, OH, USA

problem #4

Dec 122005

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,011 miles
Saturn Vue 4 cyl with vti trans. Shudder felt & heard on light up hill grades. Really bad with cruise on. Shakes vehicle. 3 repairs made including replacing the trans.problem still occurs. Other Saturn owners have complaind also, thier trans failed completly leaving them stranded on the high way.

- Hamilton, 00, USA

problem #3

Jan 272006

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 240,000 miles
I have a 2004 Saturn Vue 4 cylinder with the tvi transmission. The car has 24,000 miles. I have had this car into the sturn dealer in greenville on three occasions to repair this transmission. Often, but not always, when ypressing the accelerator the car does not respond.this caused a very near serious accident when I was in traffic and tried to make a left hand turn the car did not respond and thankfully the driver of the on coming transfer truck was able to avoid an accident with my car. The Vue has now been towed back to the dealership. They now tell me there is nothing wrong with the car; enev though they have previously told me the transmission is bad. This dearlership has had two seperate owners since I purchased this car. I must have a car to preform my job duties, without appropriate transportation I will not be able to work. Without my job I will not be able to purchase necessary medication that allows me to live. (insulin dependent diabetic). I am afraid of driving this car with out appropriate repairs. This car is a safety hazard and a danger to drive in its present condition. The Saturn dealership has acted in an unprofessional manner in working with me. I have gotten no assistance with this problem and have been treated rudly and received very poor customer service. I want this reported to the manufacturer. I would like assistance is resolving this matter and insure the safety of not only myself but others on the roads. March of 2004 the Saturn cooperation sent a letter to the owners of this particular make and model of car equipted with the vti transmission regarding the concerns about this transmission and that it "may" require repair or replacement. This letter states that Saturn will provide extended coverage for up to 75 thousand miles or 5 years. This letter also informs the owner that while this is not a recall a Saturn dearler must perforn repairs at no charge.

- Greenville, NC, USA

problem #2

Apr 012005

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,905 miles
Vehicle has a loss of speed. Rpms increase. No speed. Stop car, put in park, back in drive a couple of times. Gets back up to speed. Doors have to be manually locked or unlocked for approximately 100 miles. Dealer cannot duplicate the problem. Has been in the shop 4 times.

- Renton , WA, USA

problem #1

Feb 082004

Vue 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
When the consumer applied the brakes, the transmission shifted into neutral. It happened without warning. It seemed it only does it when the motor is cold, like in the first half a mile driven. The dealer was unable to find what was wrong with it. Manufacturer said they could not do anything until dealer could give them a computer code. Updated 024/24/06.

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

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